Many things! But in particular, I am grateful for one of the people I don’t have the good fortune of spending this Thanksgiving with: Peter.
As some may have noticed, I’m back in the capital with internet access, but Peter is not. He is still in our village, being a good soldier. So I thought I’d make a Thanksgiving update about Peter–one person I am so utterly and completely grateful for having in my life.
These last few weeks have been hard for him as school winds down, leaving him plenty of time to reflect on the past year, worry about next year, and realize how being so busy at the school all the time has left little time to get to know anyone more that 9 years old in our community. Luckily, he found an accidental solution to this last issue:
Particularly in our time spent giving much-desired extra homework to primary school students throughout each week, homemade wordsearches have gotten quite popular. They take anywhere from 10-45 minutes to make, and about 5 minutes for each student to complete. But they LOVE them. So, when Peter started to wonder how to keep his students’ brains working over their long summer break, he thought: Wordsearches!
The printer at the primary school was officially working again, so he took a package of printer paper and printed 20-30 copies of about 17 different wordsearches. Using up the entire package of paper, he figured he had printed enough to get his students through the break. He would just give those who wanted one a single wordsearch at a time, then they’d have to bring them back completed in order to get a new, different one.
Before school was even officially out, Peter had students from every grade at the primary school, from the secondary school, mamas, papas, and even grandparents asking for wordsearches to fill their time. Before the official closing of the school, he ran out of all those he had printed. So he took another package of paper to the school. I hadn’t even left yet, and I could walk around the village and see small, silent clusters of people of all ages standing around staring at a piece of paper.
Peter was worried that while I was in Vila, he would have nothing to do and no one to talk to, because everyone thus far has been too afraid to approach him. Now, he can’t relax to save his life. From the moment his bladder forces him out of bed at 6am, until the moment he locks the door around 8pm at night, he is constantly receiving visitors in our kitchen asking for new wordsearches. The only rules are: A completely one must be brought back before a new one can be received, and anyone who wants one must come in person.
Not many people are afraid of approaching him anymore. His social complaints have swung from feeling like an outcast to feeling like he can’t get 20 minutes alone.
Because he desperately needs a break from everything in general, he’s hating it. But apart from needing a break, the whole thing is fantastically wonderful. Three cheers for Peter. 🙂
Coming soon: Peter’s 40th birthday celebration: island style. (That post will be mostly pictures.)